Wild Camping in North Yorkshire at Hoggarths, Swaledale.
Well. We haven’t been camping since Boy was crawling – around eight years now.
But as we actually have some time off this summer, we decided to get the children used to living under canvas.
A perfect campsite was found for some wild camping in North Yorkshire – quiet and remote high in the Yorkshire Dales.
Dusty old camping crates were removed from the shed and equipment was checked (and increased according to current family size – an extra two cups, bowls, knives, forks, sleeping bags…), bags were packed, a last minute (as in the-night-before-we-leave-fixing-it-on-by-torchlight last minute) roof box was purchased, and we set off.
When we arrived we were a little dismayed to find the camping field at Hoggarths was already home to a range of caravans – we had rather hoped to have it to ourselves. But a quick chat to the lovely farmer, and he offered us the use of another field a lot further down the lane; we’d have to share it with the sheep, and there wasn’t even a tap in the field, but we were welcome to use it if we’d prefer.
Oh man, would we?!
I’ll admit it – the holiday wasn’t a raging success for the whole fortnight. Mostly because the weather was freezing cold and really wet, which frankly makes camping with children just rather too much like plain hard work.
BUT. The campsite was genuinely idyllic. We had zero facilities – we took everything we needed, including a loo tent, and just visited the farmyard once a day to fill the water containers. The odd hiker came down off the Pennine Way to head into the village towards the end of the day most days, but apart from them and the sheep we were alone and carefree.
The few sunny days we did have made us remember just how much we LOVE camping. And if I’m honest, it was only us grumpy grown ups trying to keep things warm and dry that were complaining – the children had a total blast, loved every second of the wild freedom and can’t wait to go again.
They relished in the lack of structure – we only took a few days change of clothes, and they were expected to just keep wearing it. Food drips were simply wiped off, and muddy knees were shrugged over. Really – what does it matter? They left the tent ever morning to greet the sheep we shared out field with, and go climb the tree by the river, add to their dam, climb the escarpment and just… explore. Be free. It was an exhilarating sensation for them.
Obviously there are a gazillion photos, but here’ s a pick of the best:
Holidays always seem to rejoin the dots in the family connections. No matter how close we are as a family – and I’m lucky, all four of my children are incredibly close – it’s always on holiday that the relationships deepen. or maybe we just let them surface. Taking simple pleasure in being with the people we love best. Nothing beats it.
There was swimming in the river on the sunny days. This river bordered our camping field, and was fabulous – shallow enough to play in safely on the near side, and deep enough to swim in under the escarpment on the far side.
Every evening descended into the inevitable stone-skipping contests of course.
There was dressing up as we explored Bolton Castle, and tried out life as a Tudor…
Not to mention the unforgettable day at Rievaulx Abbey – we arrived just in time for the guided tour, and were the only ones taking part. A personal tour meant that though we’ve visited a number of times before, we had our eyes opened to so many things we’d always walked straight past – I totally recommend it.
There were some seriously glorious sunsets – this was taken as I stood at the door of the tent. The building is the empty barn in the field with us, and the escarpment to the right goes up to join the pennine way.
And of course, when the sun went down there was plenty of evening entertainment…
You just can’t beat a camp fire.
Listening to Daddy invent the latest saga in the ‘Otto’ stories every night. No, I’ve no idea either, but they loved that damned dog with the forked tail and a sock for a best friend.